Meet the Rebel Whiskey Distillers Breaking All the Rules

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The result is Bespoken Spirits, a company that claims to be able to create 17 billion unique combinations of flavor and aroma in whiskeys (and other spirits). The process involves toasting and charring microstaves, essentially a barrel that’s deconstructed into toothpick-like pieces, then adding those to whiskey in what the company calls its ACTivator (a portmanteau of aroma, color, and taste). In the machine, Bespoken controls temperature, pressure, and churn rate, among other variables, to produce the equivalent of a decade-old whiskey in just 72 hours.

Perfect blend: Panhandle pals Barnes and Ford
Perfect blend: Panhandle pals Barnes and Ford Courtesy of Timber Creek

Batch #4: TIMBER CREEK DISTILLERY

Deconstructive Distillers Create Florida’s Finest

Most bourbons are created by fermenting a mix of corn, barley, wheat, and/or rye—called a mash bill—then distilling it to create a clear whiskey. In the Florida Panhandle, the five-year-old Timber Creek Distillery ferments and distills each grain separately, then blends the spirits to construct what they consider to be a purer overall whiskey. “By cooking the grains individually to create a mash, it allows us to cook each one at the ideal temperature,” says CEO Camden Ford, who started the distillery with co-founder Aaron Barnes.

The company’s best-selling Florida Whiskey uses a blend of corn, wheat, and barley liquors, the latter two of which add a buttery smoothness and roundness to the flavor profile. It’s aged in charred oak barrels to create a clean, complex whiskey. Timber Creek also sells a blending kit—you get a bottle each of corn, rye, wheat, and barley whiskey, and a guide to help you mix them together. For $150, it’s a unique way to experience the full range of whiskey flavors you may have always enjoyed but never completely understood.


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